Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The First Last of the Line: G6 Grandfather Hardy Sellers (1757-1835)

 My 6th great-grandfather Hardy Sellers is the first, or last, depending on how you look at it, in the line of Sellers men, who we can know at the moment. For some reason, no known records exist of his parents, though finding them is my top research goal. Surprisingly, much is known about Hardy.

The Story of Hardy Sellers:

Hardy was born on March 2, 1757 in Johnson County, North Carolina. Nothing is known about his childhood, but at some point, perhaps in the early 1770s before the Revolutionary War, Hardy moved  across the North Carolina border to Chesterfield County, South Carolina, where he met and married Mary Cook, daughter of Abraham Cook and Phoebe Mills, who lived nearby. Their first son, John Sellers, was born in 1772. My 5th great-grandfather Phillip would come along in 1774, 2 years before Hardy would join the war effort.

Hardy was a patriot, and a soldier in the war. Perhaps one of the greatest joys of my research so far is finding an account of his life as a soldier in his own words taken by a court when he requested a pension in 1835, shortly before his death at the age of 77. This is the account:

On this 12th day of August 1834 personally appeared before me, James Gordon, one of the acting
Justice of the Peace of Anson County - Hardy Sellers, a Soldier of the Revolution, he being very infirm, aged 77 years, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named offices and served as herein stated he was a volunteer to serve in behalf of the United States in the year 1776 or 1777 as well as he recollects. The day or month he does not recollect. [These are Hardy's own words]:

I was a private in Capt. McMainer's Company called out by the authority of the State of South Carolina and marched to Hadley's Point [now, Haddrell's Point] near Charleston, South Carolina and from Haddrell’s Point to James Island and there remained until we were discharged. I served two months in actual service. 
Also in the year that Charleston was taken by the British I was a volunteer and served a tour of three months in actual service. I with a number of others marched under Capt. Griffy to Georgetown then to Lynches Crossway on the Santee River then back to Georgetown again, and from place to place until discharged. I think the troops was commanded by Col. McIntosh. Served three months and was discharged.

And in the same year that Gen. Gates was defeated I was a volunteer to serve three months. Marched under Capt. Stephen Jackson [AKA "Killing" Stephen Jackson] to Lynches Creek against the British and Tories then from place to place until discharged by our officers. Served three months in actual service.

After the above service, we were all laid off into divisions: first, second, third, and so on and each division was to serve as it come to his turn.

Santee River inland
The tours was to be a month at a time. I served two tours of division service with Capt. Griffy under Gen. Marion. Marched up and down Santee River after the British and Tories until discharged. Served two months and was discharged by our officers.

Also, I served two tours of a month each with Capt. Jackson under Gen. Marion in pursuit of British and Tories. Also two tours with Lieutenant Jones and two tours with Lieutenant Charles Jackson of Division Service under Gen. Marion, making in all my service so far as I can recollect a period of sixteen months for which I claim a pension. But it is far short of all my services rendered the United States during the Revolutionary War, as I was called out after the company was laid off in divisions to march under Gen. Marion [Mel Gibson's character model in The Patriot].

Gen. Marion

It is impossible for me to make any further statement at present. I have no papers to prove any services, nor do I know of any person now living by whom I could prove my services except one man and he turned a Tory after we had served together one tour. I could not think of making use of his testimony.

The interview by the Justice of the Peace:

Q1: Where and in what year were you born?

Ans: In Johnson County, NC, March 2, 1757

Q2: Have you any record of your age and if so, where is it?

Ans: No written record but my parents has told me I was born March 2, 1757

Q3: Where were you living when called into service and where have you lived ever since the
Revolutionary War and where do you now live?

Ans: I lived in South Carolina, Chesterfield District near the North Carolina line and has
continued to live there ever since.

Q4: How were you called into service, were you drafted, did you volunteer or were you a substitute and if a substitute, for whom?

Ans: A volunteer or division or classment service.

Q5: State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops where you served such continental and militia regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service.

Ans: Gen. Green though I was with him but a short time. Gen. Marion
Officers as I understood: Col. McIntosh, Col. Murphy, Capt. Griffy, Capt. Jackson and Capt.
McMannes, Lieutenants Jones and Jackson, these were militia officers at the time of my service.

Q6: Did you ever receive a discharge from the service and if so by whom, when was it given and what has become of it?

Ans: I received written discharges from my different officers but what has become of them I
know not.

Q7: State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood and who can testify to your character for veracity and their belief of your service as a soldier of the Revolution.

Ans: John Phillips, Rev. Joel Gulledge, Col. Ratliff, Peter May Esq.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declare his name is not on the pension role of the agency of any State whatever the reasons for making application in North Carolina is he lives near the State line and is most convenient for him in his helpless situation.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year above.
Test S/ J Gordan, JP S/ Hardy Sellers
We Joel Gulledge Clergyman residing in the same County and State and neighborhood and John
Phillips residing in the same, we hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Hardy Sellers the
applicant who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration that we believe him to be of the age
therein stated that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a
soldier in the Revolutionary War and that we concur in the opinion.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
Test J.; Gordan – JP S/ Joel Gulledge Sr.
S/ John Phillips
State of North Carolina, Anson County
This may certify that I knew Mr. Hardy Sellers in the Revolutionary War, we both belong and muster in Capt. Griffy's Company we were laid off into divisions or in classes each class served as it come to its turn. I belong to one class and Hardy Sellers to another and that he was a friend to his country and served as it come to his turn and that his statement as a Soldier of the Revolution is entitled to credit.

Also I have known him ever since the Revolutionary War and that he continues to be a man of veracity. 

November 14, 1834.
Test J. Gordan S/ Richard Graves,2 X his mark
2 Richard Graves S8598

This is preserved in the Revolutionary War Pension Files 1800-1900.

In 1784, he received a grant of land of 15 acres in what is now Ruby, South Carolina.
Location of Chesterfield County, SC
What his land might have looked like
Over the next three decades he received State Grants for over 650 acres of land around Ruby.  He owned the earliest mill, Sellers Mill, in that area.  

The earliest record of Hardy's daily life is of age 33. The 1790 census record states he and Mary lived in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, had 3 boys under the age of 16 and two daughters. No records of slaves were kept in the 1790 census.

Hardy and Mary actually had 7 children total: Jane, Phoebe, and Mary, and sons Richard, John, Abraham, and Phillip. At the 1790 census, Phillip was listed as living nearby with his own family already begun.

The 1800 census states they had one slave. The gender or age is not recorded.  Phillip and his family were still living nearby. But 1810, Hardy owned 7 slaves. Most of the children were grown and had begun their own families. Hardy's sons John, Abraham, and Phillip lived nearby, as well as Mary's father Abraham Cook. The 1820 census is the first really detailed census. It shows that Hardy now owned 8 slaves, 2 males and 6 females, and the family was engaged in farming.

Mary Cook dies in 1824. Since her birth year isn't known, the age at the time of her death is also not known. It can be imagined that since she had her first child in 1772, she was perhaps 65-70 when she died. A full, long life, if not a hard one, as I imagine life was mostly difficult, having dealt with the stress of war. But exciting, to witness the birth of the country, as well as the births of so many healthy children and grandchildren.

Four years after Mary's death, Hardy remarries, at the age of  71, young Lavinia Gulledge. 22-year-old Lavinia Gulledge. They had two children together, Hardy Huntley and Zilphia Ann. By 1830, Hardy had 20 slaves, and a young wife, and 2 small children at home. He grew infirm rapidly, and by 1834, when he came before the War Pension tribunal, he was described as "helpless". I would imagine Hardy was trying to get the money, not for himself, but for his young family.

On January 12th, 1835 Hardy died. He was 77.

Soon after his death, his application for a war pension was rejected.

Grave marker at the Hopewell Baptist Church cemetery in Chesterfield County, SC
Lavinia was left with her two small children to care for the plantation, slaves, and all that came with it, though I'm sure Hardy had a foreman to take care of the day to day activities. An 1840 census for Lavinia cannot be found. She died in 1849, at the age of 43, leaving her two children, ages 18 and 19, alone in the world, though with much property to their name.

Hardy's Legacy:

His sons:

Phillip, Hardy's son and my 5th great-grandfather, also died that same year as his father, 1835. The date of his death isn't known. The majority of his land was sold for taxes in 1837. Before Phillip died, he and his wife Mary had 11 children together, one of them being m 4th great-grandfather William.

John Sellers went west to Carroll County, Tennessee, where his family grew almost exponentially. He and his wife Henrietta Norwood, had 15 children together, and most of them lived to have families of their own.

Abraham also married a Norwood girl, Mary. They moved to Calhoun County, Mississippi, north of the Yalobusha River, (very close to where I live today), and had 7 children.

Richard also went west, though nothing else is known of him.

Hardy Huntley married Mary Eliza Sinclair. They stayed in Chesterfield County and had 7 children. 


Phoebe married Jeremiah Gulledge and had 8 children. Jane married Iverson. Briley and had 1 son. Mary married Thomas Gaddy. They had 7 children. Hardy's youngest, Zilphia Ann, was married twice. First to William Gaddy. They had 8 children together. Then she married Dixon Gordon, and together they had one son.

I would be hard-pressed to offer how many descendents there are of Hardy Sellers and Mary Cook, too many to know. Their legacy is varied and impressive. Now, to solve the mystery of their origins, and by extension, mine.


  1. Interesting article. Thank you for your time and research.

    Hardy James Sellers

  2. I too am a descendant of Hardy & Philip Sellers. My father is James T Sellers from Carroll County TN. Looking for Hardy's pension number for DAR admittance. Please pass along if you have it. Thx! Charlene Sellers

  3. Well I am very impressed with this information. I have some info. on the Smith family and it traces back to Hardy Sellers,Phillip also. So I will work on this and hope to connect.
    Thank you so very much. How interesting.